Double Spell, by Janet Lunn, for Timeslip Tuesday

Double Spell, by Janet Lunn (Tundra Books, 2003, originally published as Twin Spell, back in 1971)

"The twins found the doll on a cold wet Saturday in early spring. They found it in an antique shop, which was odd because neither Jane nor Elizabeth had ever thought of going into an antique shop before. At age twelve, they didn't think much about dolls anymore, either. And yet, on this rainy Saturday morning, they did both" (p 1)

The little old wooden doll calls out to the twins, and acting on a whim she can't explain, the owner of the shop lets the girls have it in exchange for what little money they have on them. When their great aunt decides to turn the large old family house over to the twins' family, they are pleased to think that their doll will have a home worthy of her...and very pleased themselves with their new tower room.

But strange things have entered the girls' lives with the coming of the doll, and the move to the new house. The doll seems to be leading them back into the past...memories that aren't their own are flickering in and out of their everyday lives, and someone, or something, is playing poltergeit-like tricks on their family. Because long ago, the doll belonged to another little girl...and there are dark secrets from the past waiting to come to light. Time is about to twist for Jane and Elizabeth, and bring the past to the present.

This is the sort of just on the edge of horror story great for the nine-year-old-ish girl. The time-slippishness makes the mystery very intriguing, especially toward the end, when I was reading at the edge of my seat, all feverishly anxious. Of course, being me, I enjoyed the more mundane aspects--moving into the big old house, doing historical research in the library, and making doll clothes--just as much, if not more!

I would have loved this one as a child, and enjoyed it just fine as an adult. Even though it was written forty years ago, Double Spell is not at all dated (there's the dated old cover on the right), and should easily win itself new friends.

Janet Lunn is perhaps best known for another time slip story, The Root Cellar--someday I will be going back to re-read this one for another Timeslip Tuesday!

(thanks, Anamaria of Books Together, for sending this one my way!)


  1. I have The Root Cellar but not this one. Dolls AND time travel. It is still available in a Follett Bound edition from 2003. Hmmm.

  2. Our library has Root Cellar, but I've nenver read it. I did love Twin Spell, though (mine had the old-fashioned cover! it has since come off). It was the doll, the house, the library for me, too. I'm glad you liked it!

  3. Thanks for the great recommendation! I'll have to take a look on Amazon.

  4. I loved the Root Cellar--read it as a child. I haven't read this one, but will check it out...


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